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How is the Student visa route different to the old Tier 4 (General) Student visa route?

The key changes to student visas are as follows:

  • The Student visa route applies to both non-EEA and EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK to study.
  • The list of countries which are exempt from the requirement to provide an ATAS certificate (see below) has been extended to include EEA countries and Switzerland.
  • You can apply for your visa up to six months before the start of your course if you are applying from outside the UK (see above).
  • There is no longer a time limit on studying courses at postgraduate level but the 5 year limit for degree level courses still remains.
  • You are not required to provide evidence of academic qualifications used to obtain sponsorship if you will be studying at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.
  • The rules in relation to switching to a Student visa from within the UK have been expanded (see below).
  • There are now more ways in which you are able to satisfy the English language requirement (see below).
  • There are also more ways in which you can satisfy the maintenance/financial requirement (see below).

Read more about this and other questions in our



Given the fast pace of change, we would stress that this information is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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